Scientific Research and Essays

  • Abbreviation: Sci. Res. Essays
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-2248
  • DOI: 10.5897/SRE
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2753

Full Length Research Paper

What factors influence the adoption of inorganic fertilizer by maize farmers? A case of Kakamega District, Western Kenya

Elizabeth Nambiro and Peter Okoth        
Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute of CIAT (CIAT-TSBF), c/o World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P. O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 09 September 2012
  •  Published: 28 February 2013



This study identifies the factors that influence adoption of inorganic fertilizers by maize farmers in Kakamega District. A probit model was used to analyze data collected from 169 maize farmers. The results showed that growing of a cash crop, off-farm income, access to an agricultural extension agent and use of improved maize seed positively and significantly influenced adoption of inorganic fertilizer. Households with more tropical livestock units were less likely to use inorganic fertilizer and instead used animal manure. The inorganic fertilizers used supplied two nutrients mainly phosphorous (P) and nitrates (N). Potassium (K) rich fertilizers were not used despite the fact that maize requires 3 nutrients N, P and K. Almost 80% of the farmers used very low amounts (< 10 kg ha-1) of Diammonium Phosphats (18:46:0) and UREA (46:0:0) or CAN (26:0:0) in a given season.  Given the low inorganic fertilizer application rates, the farmers are unable to maintain or improve high maize yield. Therefore, efficiency and targeted application of inputs among the low-input farms should be improved in order to raise maize productivity. Testing the soils for nutrient status will improve precision and efficiency of inorganic fertilizers and boost maize productivity.


Key words: Probit analysis, income, markets, extension agents, productivity.